15 May 2023 | Tennis NSW

National Volunteer Week 2023 is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the millions of incredible Australians who devote their time and service to positively impact the community. This year’s theme, “The Change Makers”, recognises the powerful impact volunteers make supporting both communities, individuals and the nation.

The theme of “The Change Makers” is of huge significance to both Helen Ackerman and Sue Woodward, two volunteers who have made an impactful difference in their tennis communities over the years.

Helen Ackerman started her tennis journey at 12 years old at Kooroora Tennis Club, where she found a love for not only the sport, but for also helping and improving the club in any way possible.

Over the years, Helen has held several committee positions and is now a long-time President of Kooroora Tennis Club.

As a result of the committee’s and Helen’s tireless efforts and commitments, the club has been able to undergo a full redevelopment, increase participation, whilst simultaneously creating an environment where all players are welcomed and encouraged to pick up a racquet and jump on court.

“We became one of the first clubs in the area to install lights when we rebuilt the centre in the 70’s. The lights were installed by engineers who volunteered at our club, and this helped us become more financially viable.

“The rebuilding of the centre was driven by volunteers with no grants or external funding. Another volunteer and I were the building project managers and we worked closely with the building company and learnt a lot during the journey. The club owned the house next to the courts and we decided to sell it to use the profits to upgrade the clubhouse, fences, synthetic courts and to install court lighting and a new carpark.”

Helen’s devotion and love of tennis does not stop at her club. The club will be holding a fundraising event for a severely damaged tennis club located in the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine on Sunday 28 May from 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Kooroora Tennis Club will be raising money to assist with repairing the club’s damages caused by the numerous bombings and air attacks. For more information on the event, please click here.

Similarly, Sue Woodward’s change maker attitude has allowed her to make a positive difference as Secretary at her club, Lane Cove Tennis Club. Despite working full time, Sue ensures she finds time to manage the club’s administration and meet regularly with their Tennis NSW Tennis Development Officer during the day over virtual calls.

Sue has been the Secretary at Lane Cove Tennis Club for nearly 10-years and during this time she has found volunteering to be rewarding and fulfilling.

“Tennis has given me a lot in life. I have grown up amongst volunteers my whole life and becoming a volunteer myself was a great opportunity to give back. It is the least I can do.

“Anyone considering volunteering should give it a go. Everyone has something to give back and it is great fun working as a team in a committee.”

Thank you to all the generous volunteers across the NSW tennis community. From grassroots to events and everything in between thank you for everything you do for our sport.